CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert held a news conference on Monday to play recordings he made of his opponent Tim Boyd in their race for the Hamilton County Commission.
The recordings are the basis of his complaint against Boyd that he was threatened.
The TBI investigated his claim and a Hamilton County grand jury indicted Boyd for extortion.
Lambert says it started with a call to his employer, the Tennessee Valley Railroad museum, warning of damaging information that would be released on him if he didn’t drop out of the race.
He says an attorney recommended that he talk to Boyd personally, so he called him Boyd on Feb. 16 and recorded the conversation.
Lambert then passed the recording on to the District Attorney General.
In the press conference, Lambert said “Mr. Boyd says I called him asking for advice. What you will actually hear is me asking what he plans to achieve as the result of his threats. I asked ‘what do you want me to do. He didn’t offer any advice. He replied ‘I want you to drop out of the race.'”
“He has tried making an issue out of the fact that he didn’t consent to being recorded. I didn’t consent to being extorted.”
Listen to the first conversation for yourself.
Lambert started choking up when he talked to threats against his family.
“He tried to bully me, he tried to bully my employer, what is what got the whole thing started, he tried to bully my family and I simply would not, and will not give in.”
In the second tape, Boyd says ” I don’t want to hurt you Brent. I don’t have that intention(s). I told you before it’s politics and if you decide to drop out then I’m going to be supportive of your decision publicly, and I’m going to be supportive of you as Mayor of East Ridge. And we’re going to work together do great things for East Ridge, and that will be the end of it.”
And later.. “if it’s a political race, it’s like a football game and I’m going to do everything I can to win the game.”
(Note: there is some audio interference on this tape because Mr. Boyd was outside during the call, picking up the wind sound)
The third tape is from a phone call the following day, Feb. 21st. Lambert says the recording starts about :45 into the conversation.
Commissioner Boyd lays out his theories about who is supporting Lambert & tries to reassure him that the “information” won’t be leaked if Lambert chooses to get out of the race.
It concludes with the following exchange:
Lambert: “Again, I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong..
Lambert: “So I guess that’s the answer.”
Boyd: “Okay, you’re going to stay in and let us do our thing. That’s what your answer is.”
Lambert: “That’s it.”
Boyd: “Okay… alright.”
Lambert: “Alright, Tim.”
Boyd: “We’ll see what happens.”
Before the press conference, the Boyd campaign sent out a statement by his attorney, Lee Davis.
“Political candidate Brent Lambert issued a press release Friday threatening Tim Boyd that he will release a secretly recorded conversation today in order to gain political advantage in an election. Mr. Lambert is committing the same act today that he complained of last week.
“If Mr. Lambert really believes he is the victim of a crime, as he claims to be, it is curious business for him to hold a press conference today to release evidence, as he announced he intends to do. As a political candidate, Lambert is holding a press conference today, he says, to release a conversation that he secretly recorded of a political opponent. Puzzlingly, Mr. Lambert initiated the call to Commissioner Tim Boyd for the purpose of recording him. This act by Mr. Lambert, followed by an indictment, and now followed his announcement that he will release evidence in a pending criminal case, is a mockery of our legal system. Mr. Lambert and those individuals who are helping him with his threats against Commissioner Tim Boyd should be held accountable for their actions.
My law office will be representing Commissioner Tim Boyd in a court of law on Friday, and we will ask the court to set this matter for trial at the earliest possible opportunity so that we may do our part to seek justice on behalf of Commissioner Tim Boyd and to hold political candidate Brent Lambert accountable for his actions in this matter.”
Attorney Lee Davis